Jim Waite ('73, B.A. English) and Denise Genovese ('74, B.A. English) were close friends who became sweethearts while attending CSU Stanislaus. After graduation, they went their separate ways and embarked on their separate lives.
They were out of touch for 35 years before Waite, now single and living in Colorado, found Genovese on Facebook. She was widowed and still living in California, and the two began communicating regularly.
During their first phone conversation, which lasted an hour, they laughed and cried. Soon they were talking daily and arranging flights to visit each other.
"It was the most amazing feeling to have found this close, long-lost friend," Waite said.
CSU Stanislaus continues to connect the couple. Genovese's college diploma had become tattered over the years, so Waite contacted the university's Alumni Association and surprised her with a framed replacement diploma as a Valentine's Day gift last year.
A year later, the college sweethearts will celebrate Valentine's Day as a soon-to-be married couple in Colorado.
"It all began at CSU Stanislaus," Waite said. "We're enjoying life and looking forward to where it will take us together."